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About the Trust

Puttenham CommonPuttenham Common © Jon Hawkins

Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) is the only organisation concerned solely with the conservation of all forms of wildlife in Surrey.

 

Our vision is for a Living Landscape in Surrey that is rich in wildlife and valued by all

With well over a million people, Surrey is one of the most densely populated counties in the South East, and our proximity to London means this population density is only likely to increase. However, the county is also known for its stunning countryside.

Surrey Wildlife Trust currently manages 82 sites, together covering almost 8,000ha, which is 5% of the land area of the county. We also work with many partners and other landowners to advise on land management for conservation, with particular emphasis on woodland, wetlands, and heathland.

We work with schools, communities and volunteers across Surrey to inform and involve people actively in nature. Over 15,000 children and young people now benefit annually from a wide variety of outdoor learning courses and activities. Each year our enthusiastic volunteers contribute over 10,000 ‘people days’ to our work.

SWT is a key partner in the new Surrey Nature Partnership, and will be a major deliverer of the outcomes required in the England Biodiversity Strategy, Biodiversity 2020. The Trust hosts the Surrey Biodiversity Information Centre, holding over 1 million records, supporting a dedicated network of naturalists, and responsible for gathering, managing and disseminating information on habitats and species for the county. We carry out planning reviews, wildlife survey work, and numerous conservation projects for habitats and species.

Grazing

A grazing agreement with the Ministry of Defence to graze Ash, Pirbright and other ranges was set up in 2006 as part of SWT’s habitat management programme. The grazing team now manages a herd of over 300 belted galloway cattle, a breeding herd of 75 red deer and some 56 goats. This important conservation project now contributes to habitat management on many of our reserves.

Surrey County Council agreement with Surrey Wildlife Trust

SWT took over the management of Surrey County Council’s (SCC) Countryside Estate in May 2002 under an agreement that was thought to be the first of its kind. Both organisations are proud of this ground-breaking partnership. The Agreement for Services has proved to have been an unqualified success for both SWT and SCC. The Trust has been able to access significant charitable and environmental grants that were not previously available to SCC and has thus invested heavily in the Estate, for the direct benefit of both people and wildlife of Surrey.

SWT also has management agreements with the MoD to restore 243ha acres of Lowland Heath and with Mole Valley District Council to manage parkland and woodland in the Dorking area (90ha).

SCC Countryside Estate

The SCC Estate that provides open access covers 4,000ha of the county. The Council owns 6,500 with the remainder being managed on behalf of private landowners under long term access agreements. Some of Surrey’s most treasured landscape falls within its boundaries. Flagship sites include Wisley & Ockham Commons, Norbury Park, Newlands Corner and Chobham Common, the largest National Nature Reserve in the South East of England.

Education

Every year, SWT provides wildlife education to over 15,000 children at two centres across Surrey and aims to inspire lifelong learning through enjoyment and access to the natural environment in both urban and rural areas.